“Thank you for shopping with us.” It isn’t just a slogan for plastic shopping bags, it’s a real feeling you have toward your customers. As business owners, we thank our customers in a lot of ways, but few are as personal as an actual thank-you note. And people appreciate them even more than we think.
Thank-you notes can be the difference between one-time and life-long customers. According to Forbes, 68% of people have left a business relationship because they felt that the company was “indifferent” toward them. That’s a lot of lost business, but it’s preventable.
Here are a few of our tips, best practices, and even mediums for those “thank you for your business” letters.
How to Say Thank You
“Thank you SOOOO much.”
“We appreciate the support.”
There are a lot of ways to say thank you, and some are better than others. In order to sound as thankful as you are, your thank you should be sincere, warm, and personalized.
Sound Sincere & Convey Warmth
Even though you may be genuinely thankful, a bad thank-you message can come across as insincere. Short and curt? Insincere. Long and flowery? Insincere.
Sounding as sincere as you feel is more of an art than a science. But there are a few best practices to keep in mind:
Length: Typically, a few sentences or a paragraph is long enough. Much more than that will likely go unread, and less than that could seem impersonal.
Language: Keep your language conversational rather than overly formal. Avoid using cliches (e.g., we think you’re the cat’s meow!), flowery language (we’re sooooo thankful for your purchase, it means the world to us!), or over-using words like “sincerely.”
Personality: This goes with keeping your language conversational. Insert your personality into your thank you notes. It makes the message seem more personal and gives your brand a little more identity. Don’t be afraid to throw in some humor (as appropriate).
The above example isn’t a business thank you, but it’s a fantastic example of personality and personalization in a thank-you letter. It’s exactly what you’d imagine children’s author Roald Dahl (author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, and more) would write in a thank- you note. While you don’t need to go full Roald Dahl with your thank you, add some creativity to your message when you can.
Dahl’s note also does a great job conveying sincerity and warmth. It feels honest and treats the recipient (most likely a child) with respect. He doesn’t try too hard to be clever, though he is. Keep all those things in mind when choosing the language for your thank-you notes.
Personalize Your Message
The above example from Roald Dahl is an extremely personalized message. It thanks the person by name, mentions specifically why he’s thankful, and what he plans on doing next. It’s a standard “thank you for the gift” note.
Business thank-you notes don’t need to be quite that personalized. At the absolute least, your thank you should include your name and your customer’s name. Sending a thank you message without even including a name likely won’t give the customer the same warm, fuzzy feeling a personalized note might.
Here are some things you might want to consider personalizing in your emails:
- Name: Hi Emily,
- Product or service purchased: Thanks so much for picking up a pair of our boxing gloves!
- The region the customer is based in: I saw you’re based in Seattle! I’ve never been, but I’ve been meaning to book a trip there at some point.
- Any resources that might help the customer with their new product: I’m not sure if you’re set on your hand wrap style, but here’s one of my favorite videos. It shows five easy ways to wrap your hands, and it completely changed my workouts.
- Recognition for repeat customers: We noticed that this is your third order with us. It makes us so glad to see repeat customers. We know there are a lot of places to buy boxing gear, so it means a lot to see you come back for more!
- The best way to get in touch regarding customer service: If you have any questions, our employee Karen is our resident boxing glove expert. You can find her email address below.
Thank You Examples and Templates
Email thank yous can be just as effective, warm, and personal as anything handwritten.
Email makes it a little easier to personalize your message vs. a handwritten letter. You can use merge tags to automatically insert a customer’s name, the product ordered, that person’s company name, and more.
Here’s an example from Matthews Effects, a boutique guitar pedal builder based out of Washington.
This is likely a fully automated email that’s triggered when someone purchases a pedal through his online store for the second time. However, it doesn’t feel automated. The only thing personalized about this message is the name, but it radiates warmth and sincerity without extra personalization.
It’s short, sweet, and to the point. Plus, it’s unexpected. This message was sent in addition to the standard “thank you for your order” email confirmation that goes out with every order. This is a completely separate campaign that surprises and delights recipients.
Here are six thank-you email templates with varying levels of personalization. For consistency, these are going to be written from a fake business that we’ll call The Crooked Bookstore. In these examples, the business is a mystery bookstore that offers a book club subscription service.
For a first time buyer:
From all of us at The Crooked Bookstore, welcome to our family! Thank you so much for your purchase of And Then There Were None. It’s a classic, and we’re sure you’ll love it!
We’re a small, carefully curated bookshop, and we stand by all of our titles. That means if you don’t like the book, you can trade it for any other book in our store. Just send your reply to this email and we’ll get everything sorted out.
Thank you again for choosing The Crooked Bookstore, we hope to hear from you again soon!
For a repeat customer:
I was so excited to see your name come across our order pile again!
Seeing a returning customer is always a good feeling. We know you have a lot of options when it comes to buying books, so it means a lot to us that you’d choose to purchase Absent in the Spring from us.
As always, we have a love-it-or-exchange-it policy, so if your new book doesn’t live up to the excitement of And Then They Were None, we’ll work with you to find something more your style.
For a one-year anniversary of being a customer (e.g., for a subscription service):
Happy anniversary! We can’t believe it’s already been a year since you subscribed to our book club. Your continued support means so much to us. We hope to have many years reading and discussing our favorite mystery novels with you ahead of us!
For someone who left positive feedback:
I just saw the positive note you left about our store, and I wanted to send a personal thank you. It’s so rewarding to know that someone had a good experience with our business and felt compelled to share that experience with others. In this day and age, positive reviews are especially important to a business like ours.
Again, thank you so much. Please let us know if there’s ever anything you need.
For someone who left negative or neutral feedback:
I hope you don’t mind me reaching out. I couldn’t help but notice your negative review about your most recent purchase. It’s my hope that every transaction between The Crooked Bookstore and our customers is a positive one, and I’m so sorry to hear that this didn’t reach our standards.
I’d love to discuss with you exactly what happened and how we can make this right. Can you send me an email or call me at 555-123-4567?
Thanks in advance for your time, it’s greatly appreciated.
For someone who ordered a product on back-order:
Thank you so much for your patience with your purchase of A Pocket Full of Rye. It’s not usual for us to have products on backorder like this, but it does happen, and I want to thank you for understanding. We hope to have your new book in your hands in the next 5 days!
Until then, please let me know if you have any questions, or if there’s anything else I can do for you.
Thank you emails are always appreciated, but there’s something extra special about getting a physical thank-you card.
Thank-you cards don’t have to be fancy. They can be as simple as a blank postcard with your logo or a basic “thank you” design on one side and a handwritten note on the other.
While you can send these thank-you cards separately from any product you’re shipping, you can also drop a thank-you card into your package. A simple note that says, “Thanks so much, we hope you enjoy your new headband!” is a reminder that your package was packed by people who care about their customers.
Companies like Vistaprint and FedEx Office make it easy and affordable to buy branded thank- you cards in any quantity. For the sake of personalization, we do recommend that you hand write the message itself. If you’re feeling stuck on what to write, any of the examples in the email section would work great with physical cards, too.
A phone call is one of the rarer ways to say thank you to a customer, and it’s understandable why that is. A phone call can feel invasive, and it’s impossible to automate. And unless you have a call center, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to reach out to every customer.
There are still times when it could make sense to reach directly out to a customer via phone to thank them. For example, if someone is a repeat customer who refers a lot of new business your way, a phone call would be an excellent way to say thank you.
Be Timely With Your Thank Yous
Let’s say you’re invited to a wedding and you get the happy couple a gift from their registry. You don’t really give it a second thought, and then months later, you get a thank-you card from them.
“Oh yeah,” you think. “I forgot all about getting them that knife set. Took them long enough to say thank you.”
The note is still appreciated but catches you off guard. You’re reminded that they didn’t take the time to send a thank-you note out sooner. It’s certainly better than no thank you at all, but there’s something off about it.
The same sentiment applies to your customers when you wait too long to send a thank you. A quick thank you shows that you’re at the top of their mind and that you’re valued. It also puts you at the top of their mind.
Thank You Notes Make Customers Happier Than You Think
According to a recent study, senders of thank-you notes consistently underestimate how happy recipients are to receive those notes. Senders of thank-you notes in at the University of Texas at Austin thought that these letters would seem insincere or would make recipients feel awkward.
In actuality, the letters made those who got them felt “ecstatic.” The study also showed that the letters took less than five minutes to write, on average. It also showed that recipients cared less about the exact language of the letter. What really mattered was the warmth.